Originally submitted to this writing prompt.
The Hydra, the monster of all water slides. A massive slide that curved all around the central tower that hosted it along with the park’s three other main attractions: the Goliath, the Water Spout, and the Monsoon. The painted steel scaffolding that hosted them all an engineered amalgamation of the growing behemoth that made up the park’s central tower. Each had been added on top of one another, their plastic tubes twisted around each other in a tangle of colorful petrified worms that spat our tourist from the very top of the attraction to the safety of the pools below, often accompanied by the screams and shouts as each person sped out into the pools skipping over the surface like hydroplaning boats until the resistance of the water finally pulled them to a stop. The previous kings of the tower had had a good run, but they were nothing compared to that of the Hydra who spat its riders out at nearly twice the distance as the previous record holder, the Goliath.
Anthony stood atop the structure at the mouth of the hydra. Water rushed through jets and into the deep blue abyss of the Hydra’s opening. Unlike with his friends who had gone in before him, consumed by the contraption, the rushing of the water down through the plastic tubing did not excite him. Instead it terrified him. His mind did not register that of the thrills he would be faced with but closer to that of the call of the void one feels within standing upon the edge of a seaside cliff. He didn’t want to jump and yet the Hydra beckoned him too. He stood there petrified until she tapped him on his shoulder.
He looked over. Sophia stood there with a smile on her face a smile that could easily knock him over on his behind in his current moment. If the Hydra had been as cool as the depths of the ocean Sophia’s smile was that of the warm sun of the beach.
“Are you going to go?” She asked.
He wanted to say no, but as we all know, whenever a teenage boy is asked something of a crush rarely do they ever say no.
“Yes,” Anthony nodded. “Just waiting for the bottom to clear.” He said looking over the railing. Seven stories below he thought he had seen the red swim shorts of Luke spurt out of the mouth of the Hydra. “Is it safe to go?” He asked the lifeguard next to the entrance.
“It’s been like a minute kid,” the lifeguard answered. “Of course it’s good to go.”
Anthony looked at Sophia and nodded. “See you at the bottom,” he said as he walked to the mouth of the slide. The frothy water of the jets spat out around his feet. He gripped the upper railing and angled himself just right. Heart rate elevated he swung himself back and then into the abyss.
Anthony kept his eyes closed the whole time. Only feeling the sensation of his body as it zipped around the bends of the slide. He felt the water jets at the bottom of each trough propel him upwards over the top of each hump and for a brief moment his body turned weightless only to splash back down upon the currents and then his body shot across the surface of a pool, skimming across it like a well executed throw of a skipping stone over a pond. When he came to a rest and his body began to sink beneath the surface did he finally open his eyes.
The sounds of the screaming tourists nor the laughter of drunken adults as they sat at the waterpark’s bar had gone away. The entire park had changed as well too. He found himself within the silence of an empty pool too deep too stand in that had been enshrouded in enormous building with glass walls on all sides. To his left and right he could see the edge of the pool, but forward he saw nothing but the endless pool. Behind him the exit to the slide spat water into the pool. He swam over to it.
“Luke?” Anthony said treading over to the slide. “Sophia?” The only answer was that of the slide’s gurgle. Like his words the sounds of the slide quickly disappeared into the silence of the room. When he got to the mouth of the slide he waited.
When nobody came Anthony pulled him up into the mouth of the Hydra and began to climb. However, he did not get far before the currents of the slide swept him away and back into the endless pool. He tried again, and again, and again. On the sixth attempt he gave up and swam over to the edge of the pool. Pulling himself he sat up on the ledge and closed his eyes and began to cry.
After a while, a long while, he had ran out of tears. Using what strength he could muster he stood himself up and waddled to the glass walls. Outside he saw nothing but endless prairie. Emerald green grasslands that rolled and stretched far into the distance. The sun began to set over the horizon stretching the shadow of the hills into their modest valley. The light skipping from one crest to the next leaving skipping over the valleys in between form what looked like faces blended together into one giant fractal of agony. The sun set further and the shadows grew longer until dusk finally came leaving him all alone in the dark.
And then he heard something splash behind him.